Reflections on 2017 esports events I’ve worked with that hosted Smash4: the great, good, and bad

Botox
I remember looking at my phone sometimes in pure anxiety & fear but my dog Botox had this face and it made me feel way better so I made it my background for a while.

It’s been a wild year of Smash4 for many events. I had the pleasure of working with many good folks who had great aspirations and intentions for their respective events, including myself. Although I think most folks don’t see it in my perspective on things so I thought it’d be better if I actually wrote how I felt for each event, explain what I was accountable for, what I do, what I do not do, and what the hell it means to be part of the core staff for some events. The crappy part is that every event is different in regards to how things operate where duties and hierarchy isn’t as fluid. A lot of decisions get made then as the TO of an event you are responsible for them even if you didn’t solely make that decision. This is part of the job and it’s something I think folks should be ready for when decisions get made and take the criticism that goes with it to grow into a better career organizer for the next event.

Anyways I think it’d be important to line item each event I worked with in 2017 and about how I honestly feel about each event + 2017 as a whole so strap in. Also I feel this is my own reflection for each event so that each Event Organizer can learn from my experiences and have their next event be WAY better. I’m checking my ego out as I write this so I hope those that do read my raw experience with these events:

  • Genesis 4 smash.gg/G4

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director & Social Media Manager
    • Reason for hire:
      • Genesis 3 was my first major I ran for Smash4 aside from the old DVDA tournament series I ran in Las Vegas. I wasn’t known nationally but I worked my ass off from working with the team in preparing and execution the weekend of Genesis 3. I was really proud of what the G3 team produced.
    • Duties:
      • Planning Smash4 schedule, side events, and marketing around G4
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles and Doubles [these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Coordinating with Commentary Director to help with selection & talent placement timeslots
      • Setup of G4 venue on Thursday
      • Leading Smash4 Friday, Saturday and Sunday
      • Helping with breakdown Monday
    • What went great:
      • Putting together the commentary team went fairly well with the budget we had
      • Setup of the venue was great and everything seemed fairly fine from the previous year’s smaller space
      • Seeding committee led up by Zan and TLTC are godlike
    • What didn’t go well:
      • to start off 0.9 was the biggest learning experience I’ve ever had & also the most embarrassing. There’s much that could’ve gone differently but I don’t want to go too long about it than just ensuring no other event has to deal with this kind of situation ever again and to always clear all gamertags off a system along with setting up a system + taking pictures before every Top 8, which I have consistently have done since G4 & implore any TO to do the same.
      • The bracket mixup; some shit went down where folks played each other in double jeopardy where a judge ran a bracket and some confusion among what was correct happened among players & some judges [smash.gg was showing something different than paper brackets; in general always trust the paper brackets and just come to the TO Command Center if that happens at any event]
      • Not double checking that our stream time had to cut stream by 10:30pm at 9pm Saturday; lesson learned to always double check when stream needs to close in cas union/venue jams you
        • I was under the impression we had until 12 but in the middle of Top 16 I was told otherwise so we had some Top 8 qualifying matches played off stream, which absolutely sucked for those players and for folks at home
        • Learning experience: DON’T FRONTLOAD STREAM QUEUE. WORK BACKWARDS. Always be sure to make time for Top 8 Qualifiers and assume the worst. It’s what I’ve been advocating to anyone who works with me for Stream Running to avoid having to cut matches late
      • Crew Battle
        • Wow what a shit show; to be honest I thought it’d go decent but in reality Crew Battle format was ass and I take responsibility for an ass format. I was told we had to do a side event but in all honesty I’d much rather have more stream time for Singles since we had such great talent and had limited stream time
        • Learning experience: don’t do shitty formats. If you have doubt for a side event, don’t do it. Ask players, ask for more feedback from people. Ultimately structured fun is only fun if people want to do it. Forcing a side event to an already stressful day for top level talent sucks so don’t do that.
    • What can be better:
      • More detailed assigned roles for staff for everyone to know
      • Better marketing towards Smash4 folks earlier with more trailers early with an actual marketing strategy for Genesis as a whole
      • Actual trailers for people to get excited for
      • And problems should be dealt with in a less hasty manner
      • A better emphasis on catering to communities within 4 hour driving distance
  • Frame Perfect Series 2 smash.gg/FPS2

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Manager Assistant
    • Reason for hire:
      • MVG & Vayseth wanted me on board to help
    • Duties:
      • Help in Smash4 schedule and marketing
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles and Doubles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Helping with Smash4 over the weekend
    • What went great:
      • Florida came out to support the event for Smash4
      • A lot of Japanese came through since 2GGC: Civil War was the following week
    • What didn’t go well:
      • Stream for Top 8 had a 40 minute delay due to some production complications that killed the momentum we had on Sunday.
    • What can be better:
      • Being at the airport was a bit odd but also convenient for those flying in but very inconvenient for locals and drivers
      • A better emphasis on catering to communities within 4 hour driving distance
      • Production was not as clean I’d like it. Cameras needed to be upgraded for a cleaner smoother look.
  • CEO: Dreamland smash.gg/CEOdreamland

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • Leading the CEO 2016 team with the Kelly, Alicia, & the CFL Smash Bros scene was a great success so Jebailey wanted me on again for his next Smash Bros event.
    • Duties:
      • Help in Smash4 schedule and marketing
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles and Doubles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Helping with Smash4 over the weekend
    • What went great:
      • I think overall it was a great event for folks there
      • The CFL Smash Bros scene as a wonderful team and folks like Alicia & Kelly are treasures to the region who put in a lot of work + underappreciated
    • What didn’t go well:
      • The stream went down mid Top 8
        • This sucked but literally nothing we could do since even then that venue had dead zones for WiFi Hotspots.
    • What can be better:
      • Not be on a holiday weekend
      • Better timed to be during Spring Break for folks in the Southeast
      • In all honesty this was the start for over saturation in 2017 and it was the first event I saw where we saw a trend of a ceiling of uniques able to attend a few number of events in a year
  • DreamHack Austin 2017 smash.gg/DHATX17

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • Jebailey and I have a great working relationship at this point.
    • Duties:
      • Help in Smash4 schedule
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles and Doubles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Helping with Smash4 over the weekend
    • What went great:
      • My first DreamHack I’ve ever worked and I thought it went pretty well given I was expecting a Con like feel to the event but there was some flaws
      • Having Friday be Doubles only day was great
    • What didn’t go well:
      • I feel like the DreamHack events as a whole didn’t have a great marketing program behind them and I didn’t know what the message or theme was. I kept telling folks they should care about DreamHack but a majority didn’t realize the scope & scale of esports entrenchment DH has.
    • What can be better:
      • A better marketing strategy for DreamHack Smash as a whole with earlier lead times
      • A better campaign to reach local scenes
      • Ensuring folks knew from the start it was a 24 hour venue all weekend long for fiending
  • Combo Breaker 2017 smash.gg/CB2017

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • Rick and I have a great working relationship along with being there as a smash.gg representative as well.
    • Duties:
      • Helped with Smash4 schedule
      • Seeded Smash4 with Jaaash + local input
      • Leading Smash4 over the weekend with delegating to Jaaash
    • What went great:
      • I think overall Combo Breaker is one of the best events for Smash4
      • Smooth event with a great schedule and overnight venue
    • What didn’t go well:
      • not much here just turnout was low but about the same as 2016
    • What can be better:
      • I think in general this isn’t much of a what can Combo Breaker can do better as Memorial Day weekend is very busy with Momocon the same weekend and probably many other events
      • What I think is important is the impact of the event as a whole for fighting games and the coverage of the event can benefit many other scenes looking to get more attention
  • CEO 2017 smash.gg/CEO2017

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • Jebailey and I have a great working relationship.
    • Duties:
      • Helped in Smash4 schedule
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Leading Smash4 over the weekend
    • What went great:
      • Smash4 was in the main ballroom all weekend with the ring nearby
      • As usual the CFL Smash Bros scene has a wonderful team and folks like Alicia & Kelly are treasures to the region who put in a lot of work + underappreciated
    • What didn’t go well:
      • Top 8’s timing was unfortunate as being the game with the most entrants and first on Sunday didn’t bode well with the CEO 2016 crowd + feel with the Top 8 last year with ANTi winning at the end
    • What can be better:
      • probably have doubles back for Friday only
  • Evo 2017 smash.gg/Evo2017

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • Evo 2016 was the most intense event I ever worked for with running a 2662 person tournament in 1.5 days was quite daunting. I developed a good relationship with the Evo team and have much respect for them. I also have been helping relay feedback from Evo 2016 for Evo 2017.
    • Duties:
      • Relayed feedback from Evo 2016 early on to heads
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Lead Smash4 all weekend from Friday pools to Sunday Grand Finals
    • What went great:
      • Overall Evo 2017 was a great improvement from 2016 and really delivered for Smash4 in general with just only just having Sunday but the space, schedule, and 4 our format felt better as a whole
      • Having Smash4 Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center along with DisneyXD / ESPNU was surreal & phenomenal
    • What didn’t go well:
      • not much to complain about to be honest; the event as a whole was very smooth for Smash4 and I was very pleased with the end result
    • What can be better:
      • A bigger turnout
  • Shine 2017 smash.gg/Shine2017

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Co-Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • I was able to successfully help the Shine 2016 put Shine as a staple event for Smash4 with the GOAT Eduardo
    • Duties:
      • Helped with Smash4 schedule and marketing
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles and Doubles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Helping with Smash4 over the weekend with Edurado
    • What went great:
      • Shine 2017 was one of the few events that grew for Smash4 from the previous year; 483 Entrants in 2016 to 659 Entrants in 2017
      • Event as a whole went smooth from the Crews to Doubles to Singles
      • Schedule was great as well
    • What didn’t go well:
      • only problem was the result of double jeopardy that occurred due to the way phases were setup; something the team and folks at smash.gg took in consideration as well to have better measures to ensure folks have warnings for higher chances of double jeopardy
    • What can be better:
      • Overall marketing could be better and earlier for the event
      • Earlier outreach for sponsors
      • A better production team for Smash4; it was lacking a bit compared to current standards
      • I think more thoughts on making Sunday more special
  • GameTyrant Expo 2017 https://smash.gg/GTX2017

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • sought out from experience with other majors
    • Duties:
      • Helped with Smash4 schedule
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles and Doubles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Lead Smash4 over the weekend
    • What went great:
      • First time a Smash4 event was at a NBA arena for all 3 days
      • Production was nice and stadium felt like the event had more meaning that just an event with a fat prize pool
    • What didn’t go well:
      • If the event had more people it would’ve been too crowded floorplan wise that would have made the experience a lot less enjoyable
      • Overall the event’s marketing plan hit its stride to late tell folks that this is the event to be at rather than focusing on it being one of Utah’s first major events in a while along with some unique fun items to do for folks to actually visit the event
      • Salt Lake City as a whole wasn’t favorable to late night folks and if you’re not 21+ it’s worse that Las Vegas to be honest [you needed to be 21+ to eat dinner past a certain time because only bars served food after 9pm]
    • What can be better:
      • More things for folks to do aside from just a massive prize pool
      • More marketing around the people that make an event great and the fun aspect of things that can be done
      • More original content used to market the event
      • Less about you need to go to the event and more about you should come to this event along with a list of things to do during the event that’ll make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone
  • The Big House 7 https://smash.gg/TBH7

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Manager Assistant
    • Reason for hire:
      • I did a decent job with the team at TBH6 & Vayseth wanted me on board
    • Duties:
      • Helped in Smash4 schedule and marketing
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles and Doubles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Helping with Smash4 over the weekend
    • What went great:
      • smooth event overall for Smash4
    • What didn’t go well:
      • numbers went way down in general
      • it felt like the local and regional community had no real reason to be at the event
      • the new venue was massive with a lot of empty space that could be used for other means
    • What can be better:
      • Local & regional marketing
      • More things to do & see at the event aside from just the normal event as most of the people I talked to in midwest that chose not to go say little value in TBH7
      • Overall better schedule announced early as well with Friday doubles all day + Saturday Singles + Sunday Top 8
  • DreamHack Denver 2017 https://smash.gg/DHDEN17

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • Jebailey
    • Duties:
      • Help in Smash4 schedule and some marketing
      • Putting together a seeding committee with Zan & TLTC at the helm to help seed Singles and Doubles [again these guys are saints and really know how to properly balance an event with the recent results of players while seeding an event]
      • Helping with Smash4 over the weekend
    • What went great:
      • My second DreamHack I’ve worked; everything went smooth
      • Having Friday be Doubles only day was great
    • What didn’t go well:
      • I feel like the DreamHack events as a whole didn’t have a great marketing program behind them and I didn’t know what the message or theme was. I kept telling folks they should care about DreamHack but a majority didn’t realize the scope & scale of esports entrenchment DH has.
    • What can be better:
      • A better marketing strategy for DreamHack Smash as a whole with earlier lead times
      • A better campaign to reach local scenes
  • TGL & PG Present: Too Hot to Handle https://smash.gg/THTH

    • Role:
      • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Director
    • Reason for hire:
      • Panda Global event
    • Duties:
      • Help in Smash4 schedule and marketing
      • Seeding Singles and Doubles along with local input
      • Helping with Smash4 over the weekend
    • What went great:
      • Pretty smooth schedule along with decent talent
    • What didn’t go well:
      • Honestly not much didn’t go well; it’s more just lack of enthusiasm among populace with 2017’s burnout
    • What can be better:
      • announced well beforehand for folks to plan to come out

In general I had a really busy year and felt like after Evo 2017 I was really satisfied with the work I was able to accomplish. In 2018 there is more I’d like to do behind the scenes & I’d love to be more involved in bringing bigger & better produced events to Las Vegas [my local scene like I attempted to do in 2014 – 2015 with the DVDA tournament series]. In 2018 I’ll likely only be working a select events that I really want to be involved with via constant communication & in person presence; these include Genesis 5, Combo Breaker 2018, CEO 2018, and Evo 2018. I’d consider a few contract events but overall my priorities in general have shifted more towards my main full-time job as Partnerships Lead at smash.gg and I have a lot of things to take care of in Q1 / Q2 2018 with moving houses. I’d love to aggregate more folks on my referral TO list as more events spring up and reach out to me for any leads, please fill that out here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScEiwVYnS0VNMmXStHUN9TggXuVvZNw4a1VCPgLFf6QFnmwYw/viewform.

Overall I saw 2017 as mixed emotions year and hope that 2018 has a better direction for many grassroots events that cater more towards the fun people can have at events and let TV ready esports production team do their high level big budget productions. The lack of developer support along with other brands with deep pockets is a damper overall to be honest. There are so many instances that more liquidity could’ve solve the many problem and blockers I face when folks have higher and higher expectations of what an event in person & online/stream should look like. If there was developer support for Smash4 & the next iteration, events would have to adhere to more rules yes but that opens the doors to many opportunities for better production, better treatment of commentary & staff, better benefits for volunteers who put in the hard work at events, and the possibilities of new initiatives like an actual analyst desk with correct production equipment and talent.

A few criticism points for myself especially:

  • I need to do less overall in 2018 to commit myself to contract projects so I can give proper attention to the ones I have full heart into with talking to Event Organizers with proper marketing campaigns that works for each communities they’re targeting.
  • I need to learn to let go of past mishaps and take them as learning lessons for myself and teach them to others so that they don’t make the same mistake as well.
  • I need to make sure an Event Organizer’s expectations is realistic and let them
  • I need to not promise anything that can’t be delivered.
  • I need to enjoy the events I commit myself to, which the ones I plan to work with again I am really looking forward to rocking it with the team.

Best wishes to everyone for 2018.

Love y’all.

✊🐻❤️️

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Author: BearUNLV

Esports Manager @ESALasVegas Bear@EsportsArenaVegas.com • Partnerships @smashgg • Tournament Organizer: @Evo @CEOgaming @GENESIS_smash @ComboBreakerFGC & more

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